When Mom Central gave me the opportunity to to try out Starbucks’s new Bistro Boxes, it couldn’t have been better timing. School had just started, which meant stopping off for a healthy snack before black belt karate classes. While we loved stopping at Panera Bread, we were all up for something different.
Why I was intrigued Starbucks Bistro Boxes
I checked out the Starbucks website and looked over the eight different choices of Bistro Boxes. It looked like there was something for everyone, whether you were on a low carb, vegetarian or high protein diet. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a gluten free Bistro Box and that many of the boxes contained nuts. (My daughter Lucie is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.) But it looked like there was enough variety to appeal to both my kids and myself.
I also liked the ingredients – things like fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads, cage free eggs, and even dark chocolate. The nutritional breakdown wasn’t bad on several of the meals either – most featured a good amount of protein and fiber. However, all were high in carbs and many were very high in fat. Two were really good for those doing Weight Watchers – 5 to 8 POINTS – with several more choices in the 8 POINT range.
|Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box||270||8||29||6||16||5|
|Sesame Noodles Bistro Box||350||11||50||6||15||7|
|Chicken Lettuce Wraps Bistro Box||360||19||32||4||17||8|
|Chipotle Chicken Wraps Bistro Box||380||15||35||6||26||8|
|Protein Bistro Box||380||19||37||5||13||8|
|Salumi & Cheese Bistro Box||420||26||22||3||25||10|
|Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box||480||28||39||6||18||10|
Off we went last Friday after school in search of Bistro Boxes. The first Starbucks we went to only had one Bistro Box left – and I had two kids to feed. We got back in the car and drove to another Starbucks nearby. They only had three boxes left. Unfortunately, the two varieties didn’t appeal to the kids. They were bummed as they’d been looking forward to having a meal at Starbucks, a special treat for them. Instead, we went next door and had dinner at Noodles & Co. for $15 - two plates of pasta and three fountain drinks.
The next day (Saturday), I was coming back from at Front Range Food Blogger meet up and decided to stop off at the Starbucks by the freeway exit south of my home. It was 2 pm and they were completely sold out of everything in their refrigerated case including juice and milk. I used the bathroom and left without buying anything.
I got back on the freeway and got off at the next exit and found four varieties of Bistro Boxes at the Starbucks there. The grand total without any drinks for four Bistro Boxes - $27.06 including tax. The three meals were $6.95 each, and the one snack was $4.95. That seemed a bit pricey to me.
I took them home and my husband and I tried two – the Sesame Noodles and the Chicken Lettuce Wraps. They were very delicious and surprisingly filling even though they were small. The packaging was clever and the flavors were excellent. I especially liked the teeny piece of dark chocolate included – a terrific way to end the meal. All in all, very satisfying.
The next day I had the Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box for Sunday brunch. Cheese for breakfast – decadent! My daughter Lucie had the Chipotle Chicken Wraps for lunch, one of the few boxes without nuts. She told me she liked it very much. I think the idea of making little wraps with the chicken strips, tortillas and cheese really appealed to her. I tried the salsa and coleslaw and we agreed that both were very flavorful.
However - my advice to Starbucks
If you’re going to recommend Bistro Boxes to moms looking for a quick, portable snack for themselves or their kids, you have to have enough Bistro Boxes in stock in the late afternoon between the time school gets out and afterschool sports begin. Until you do, moms will go to somewhere else to get a quick, portable and healthy snack or meal for themselves or their children.
Having enough food on hand always seems to be a problem at Starbucks. I’ve been there early in the morning and have been told they were out of the egg wraps several times. This drives me crazy and seems to be a problem at all the Starbucks I’ve visited across the US. I don’t understand why they can’t fix this.
Finally, the Bistro Boxes are too expensive – a dollar cheaper per box would be more reasonable for where I live and to be competitive with places like Subway or Panera Bakery. For big cities, upscale hotels and airports, the prices would be more in line. (I had an $8 latte at the Starbucks at the Marriott Marina in San Diego and nearly fell over. I pay half of that locally for the same drink.)
So, while I love the taste, variety and nutritional aspects of Starbucks Bistro Boxes, I can’t rely on them to be available when I need them. Sorry, Starbucks, but I’ll be taking my after school business elsewhere.
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks Bistro Boxes and received a gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for taking the time to participate.